The School of Rural Public Health at the Texas A&M Health Science Center                                                        Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Return to AFL home page Contact Us Site Map Search the AFL website
Active for Life - Increasing Physical Activity Levels in Adults Age 50 and Older!
National Program Office
AFL E-Newsletter
AFL Releases
Articles of Interest
News Releases from Other  Organizations

August 2008

Previous Newsletters

From the Active for Life Program Office
Tips, Tactics and Tools
In the News
Upcoming Events

Funding Opportunities

The Active for Life® E-Newsletter Update is produced monthly by the Active for Life® National Program Office at The Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health. To include information, contact Brigid McHugh Sanner at or call 214-244-4186. This program is funded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation®.

Not a subscriber? To sign up for this free monthly electronic newsletter, send an e-mail to with this message in the body of the e-mail: subscribe AFL E-Newsletter Update your first name your last name.
If you would prefer to NOT receive the AFL E-Newsletter Update, send an e-mail to with this message in the body of the e-mail: unsubscribe AFL E-Newsletter Update with your first and last name.

From the Active for Life® National Program Office

So Long and Good Luck to Lisa
With a mixture of sadness and excitement, the Active for Life® (AFL) National Program Office announces that Senior Coordinator Lisa Groce is leaving AFL and has accepted a position with the Texas Engineering Experiment Station, which is part of the Texas A&M University System. Lisa has been with AFL almost since its inception. She has contributed vastly to the success of the program, helping both NPO staff and program grantees keep tabs on reports, budgets, and related procedures. She also took the lead in coordination of the annual grantee meetings. In addition to her work-related accomplishments, during her AFL tenure Lisa became a certified personal trainer. As of August 25, calls for Lisa will be referred to Diane Dowdy at 979-458-4249.

OASIS Active Generations Project
Congratulations to The OASIS Institute on funding from WellPoint Foundation to implement intergenerational physical activity programs in eight locations (St. Louis, Indianapolis, San Diego, Los Angeles, Syracuse, Albany, Denver, and San Antonio). OASIS is working with the Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) program staff to develop additional sessions and complete a manual that will include information on how after-school programs can address environmental and policy issues.

Aging in the Plains Conference
AFL director Marcia G. Ory, PhD, MPH will present at the September 24-26 Aging in the Plains Conference (, convened by the Regional Institute on Aging at Wichita State University. Ory will address self-management strategies and preventing and managing chronic illnesses.

Tips, Tactics and Tools

Adult Fitness Test
The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (PCPFS) offers an easy-to-use online Adult Fitness Test ( The tool measures overall fitness levels by assessing aerobic fitness, muscular strength, endurance, flexibility and body composition. The Adult Fitness Test features activities that provide an overall assessment of a person’s physical fitness and can be used to help set fitness goals and measure progress. The test involves a one-mile walk or 1.5-mile run to test aerobic fitness, sit-ups or push-ups to test muscular strength and endurance, a sit-and-reach test to measure flexibility, and a body mass index (BMI) test to assess body composition.

Report Highlights Benefits of Investment in Prevention
The Trust for America’s Health recently released a report titled Prevention for a Healthier America: Investments in Disease Prevention Yield Significant Savings, Stronger Communities ( The report examines how much the country could save by strategically investing in community disease prevention programs. The study demonstrates that an investment of $10 per person per year in proven community-based programs can generate a return of $5.60 for every $1 spent.

ICAA Professional Education Programs
The International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) and Desert Southwest Fitness offer a course selection of 18 home study programs designed specifically for working with older adults and those with special medical conditions. Industry leaders with advanced degrees and extensive practical experience in their specialty area author all materials. These courses allow health and aging services professionals to upgrade specific skills that are necessary for career enhancement while providing the opportunity to fulfill continuing education requirements. For more information, please visit

In the News

Social Groups Increase Likelihood of Maintaining Physical Activity
In 2007, AARP developed a year-long walking program, Step & Stride with Ruby (SSWR), supported by the AARP Foundation Women's Leadership Circle (WLC) and in collaboration with the Red Hat Society (RHS), to test the connection between the social htmlects of group exercise (i.e., walking) and the likelihood that participants will sustain regular exercise over time. A retention rate of 87 percent for study chapter and 49 percent for control chapter respondents supports the notion that a program with intact social groups can increase the likelihood of individuals remaining in an exercise program over an extended period of time. This is in contrast to an average of 29 percent who have participated for the full length of the AARP 10 Week Walking program. The full report is available at

Tai Chi Chih Improves Sleep
UCLA researchers report that practicing tai chi chih, the westernized version of a 2,000-year-old Chinese martial art, promotes sleep quality in older adults with moderate sleep complaints. The study was published in the July issue of the journal Sleep ( Researchers noted that participants of the study who had poor sleep quality also showed significant improvements in sleep quality following the tai chi chih intervention.

Vigorous Exercise Adds to Years of Good Health
Runners over the age of 50 are leaner and healthier than their sedentary counterparts, note Stanford University School of Medicine researchers. In a study published in the August 11 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine (, researchers theorized that if people started performing vigorous exercise in middle age or later, they would increase the number of years they would remain in good health and minimize the number of years they would be disabled and unhealthy. To test the hypothesis, the Stanford group kept tabs on more than 500 runners over the age of 50 since 1984, comparing them with a similar group of non-runners. Nineteen years into the study, 34 percent of the non-running group had died, compared with only 15 percent of the running group. Only seven percent of runners died from infections, neurological disease, or cancer, whereas 19 percent of non-runners died of those causes.

Upcoming Events


September is Healthy Aging Month. Healthy Aging® Campaign.

America on the Move Campaign. September. America on the Move Foundation.

National Cholesterol Education Month. September. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Meetings and Conferences

Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) Annual Meeting. Oct. 23-25. San Diego, CA.

American Public Health Association Annual Meeting. October 25-29, 2008. San Diego, CA.

Gerontological Society of America Annual Meeting. November 21-25, 2008. National Harbor, MD.

ICAA Conference. December 4-6, 2008. San Antonio, TX.

American College of Preventive Medicine Annual Conference. February 11-14, 2009. Los Angeles, CA.

National Conference on Chronic Disease Prevention & Control. February 23-25, 2009. Washington, DC.

National Council on Aging-American Society on Aging Aging in America Conference. March 15-19, 2009. Las Vegas, NV.

Funding Opportunities

Active Aging/Healthy Communities
The EPA seeks applications for Excellence in Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging. This award recognizes communities for their outstanding comprehensive approaches to implementing principles of smart growth, as well as strategies that support active aging. This award will be presented to communities with the best and most inclusive overall approach to implementing smart growth and active aging on a variety of fronts, at the neighborhood, tribe, city, county, and/or regional level. The deadline for application is Sept. 12. (

Ladder to Leadership
A collaborative initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the Center for Creative Leadership, this funding initiative is designed to enhance the leadership capacity of community-based non-profit health organizations serving vulnerable populations. Ladder to Leadership focuses on developing critical leadership competencies for early- to mid-career professionals through a 16-month leadership development curriculum. The program will be delivered in nine priority communities on a staggered schedule over the next four years. Up to 30 fellows will be selected to participate in the program in each of nine targeted communities across the U.S.: Central NY; Cleveland, OH; Birmingham, AL; Albuquerque, NM; Eastern NC; Portland, OR.; Mid-South Region (Western TN, Eastern AR, and Northern MS); NJ (specific site/region to be determined); and Starr County, TX. For information, visit the RWFJ Web site (





Meet Our PartnersNPO Contact Info
SRPH Building
1266 TAMU
College Station, Texas 77843-1266

Phone: 979-458-4202
Fax: 979-458-4264

Active for Life National Program Office | SRPH Building | 1266 TAMU | College Station, TX 77843-1266
Phone: 979-458-4202 | Fax: 979-458-4264 | Email: